A series of business expansions coming to Colorado Springs will mean hundreds of jobs for the area over the next few years.
One of those is a Utah company that specializes in communications products and services for hearing-impaired individuals; it plans to open a call center in Colorado Springs by June 1 to act as an intermediary in voice communications with hearing-impaired persons.
The call center planned by Sorenson Communications is the second of four expansions that will create 634 jobs during the next few years, officials from the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance said during a media briefing Wednesday. The four expansions also include a 200-person call center opened last month by UnitedHealth Group to handle enrollment, medical referrals and answer questions for Tricare beneficiaries in 21 Western states.
Alliance officials did not identify Sorenson as one of the companies planning expansions in the Springs, but the company listed jobs in the Springs on its website. The group also did not identify the two other companies expanding to the Springs, but said one was a manufacturer and the other develops sports-related software.
The Springs also is “on the short list” with several other cities for a facility costing “a couple hundred million dollars,” David White, chief business development officer for the alliance, said during the briefing. White provided few details, but the facility is apparently a data center; the alliance recently hosted a reception for the company planning the facility that was attended by officials from both Fedex and Hewlett-Packard, which both operate data centers in the Springs. The company, which White declined to name, is expected to make a decision within a month on where it will build the center.
The company planning the data center is considering “several sites” in Colorado Springs and at least one other city, according to Vince Colarelli, a Springs general contractor who’s developing the 108-acre Vineyard Data Center Park on the city’s south side.
Colarelli said he’s been invited to submit a proposal to the company, which is looking to buy land for its operation. He declined to reveal the company’s identity or other details, but did say it’s a “large national company.” A decision on where it will locate is expected by early summer, and Colarelli said his group will respond with a proposal.
“They have told us they’re on a fast-track timetable,” Colarelli said. “We understand they’re giving strong and serious consideration to Colorado Springs.”
The company, he said, has been attracted to the Springs because of its low-cost electric power; cool night-time temperatures that help businesses save money on their cooling costs; a strong telecommunications network; and the availability of building sites.
Colarelli and a partner are developing the Vineyard Data Center Park, southeast of Interstate 25 and Circle Drive, as a home for five to 10 buildings and 800,000 square feet of space for data centers. Buildings would be constructed on about 65 acres of the park; the remainder of the land would be set aside for open space, trails and Fountain Creek streamside improvements.
Initial utility lines, telecommunications systems and other improvements will be in place at the business park by year’s end — well in advance of when they’d be needed by this company or others, Colarelli said.
The company expansions and the potential for the multimillion-dollar investment come as the Springs area copes with an unemployment rate of 9 percent, with more than 27,500 people looking for work in December, the latest data available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The officials said the four companies made their decisions to expand to the Springs this year and all are expected to formally announce those plans within the next month or so.
Salt Lake City-based Sorenson Communications has leased the 26,000-square-foot top floor of the California Casualty building at 1650 Telstar Drive in the Briargate Business Campus, said Brian Wagner of Sierra Commercial Real Estate, who along with Randy Miller of Sierra represented California Casualty in negotiating the lease. John Onstott and Frank Tuck, both of Highland Commercial Group, and Nancy Lemas of Keller Williams Commercial in Boise, Idaho, represented Sorenson Communications in the lease negotiations.
Sorenson makes videophones that allow deaf and hard-of-hearing callers to conduct video relay conversations through a sign language interpreter, using technology developed with Gallaudet University. The company also offers a service that allows users to place text-based relay calls from either a mobile device or personal computer to any telephone user.